Canucks: Vasili Podkolzin well-suited for playoff style hockey

Vancouver Canucks prospect Vasili Podkolzin has the makings to be a significant impact player in the postseason down the road.

Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Thatcher Demko all elevated their games to levels that provided hope and raised expectations for Vancouver Canucks fans.

Others, such as Brock Boeser, Adam Gaudette and Jake Virtanen gained valuable experience, as did Zack MacEwen and Olli Juolevi in a limited manner. By the time the next playoff season rolls around, the Canucks will have presumably added another valuable piece in Vasili Podkolzin.

The player

The Canucks selected Podkolzin with the tenth overall selection at the 2019 NHL draft, held in Vancouver. The 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament is where I became aware of Podkolzin as he had excelled at that event ending up tied for the lead in tournament scoring with Alexis Lafreniere, each with 11 points in five games. Podkolzin led the tournament in goals with eight, many of which were highlight reel tallies.

Since the draft, he has played mostly in the Kontinental Hockey League. His ice time has increased significantly over the past year, and he plays on the fourth line with other young players Ivan Morozov and Kirill Marchenko. Occasionally, used on the penalty-kill and second power play unit. Podkolzin is currently in the final year of his contract with SKA St. Petersburg and is likely to join the Canucks immediately at his season’s conclusion.

Qualities shared with Pettersson

I’m not suggesting that Podkolzin shares the same offensive skill set that Pettersson is blessed with because that would be ludicrous.

However, they both possess the same extreme desire to become the best player they can be, and the willingness to put in the effort to do so.

Another quality that they share is the attention to detail to their play without the puck. Both are total team players willing to do whatever it takes for the betterment of the team. Similarly, they both hate to lose and are their own worst critics.

Podkolzin’s greatest attributes

The aspects of Podkolzin’s game that stand out are his compete level, his constant puck pursuit, and his outstanding defensive play. He also displays a strong puck possession game and is terrific in puck battles, particularly along the boards.

These qualities of the game become immensely magnified in the Stanley cup playoffs. The Canucks were dominated in these categories, particularly in the series versus the Vegas Golden Knights, and the addition of Podkolzin will be beneficial for future playoff runs.

I spend a great deal of time watching the Canucks prospects play and have never been more enthusiastic about this team’s future than I am now.

Next: Canucks: Playoff run is only the start of a promising future

The way their young core recently performed in the playoffs and knowing that they will be adding players such as Podkolzin, MacEwen, Juolevi, Nils Hoglander and Jack Rathbone to the team is inspiring.  It leaves me very confident that the Canucks will be hoisting Lord Stanley’s treasure in the not too distant future.

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